JBLM soldier dies from gunfire injuries

Staff writerMarch 25, 2013 

A Green Beret from Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s 1st Special Forces Group died Thursday from wounds he suffered earlier in the week in eastern Afghanistan, the Defense Department announced Sunday.

Sgt. 1st Class James Grissom, 31, of Hayward, Calif., is survived by his wife, his parents and a sister. He was wounded by small-arms fire in Paktika province last week, and he died under care at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

Grissom was a well-decorated soldier whose combat medals show that he had served in Iraq and Afghanistan since joining the Army in 2003. He enlisted through a program that guaranteed him an opportunity to try out for a Special Forces assignment as soon as he completed an advanced basic-training course.

The Army Special Forces Command reported that Grissom had deployed five times for combat operations, as well as several other times for joint training exercises with unnamed allied nations.

He served in Lewis-McChord’s elite 1st Special Forces Group since 2005. He was first assigned to the 1st Group’s 2nd Battalion and later joined the group’s newest unit, the 4th Battalion, in November 2010. He last deployed to Afghanistan in 2012. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star medal.

Lewis-McChord has about 1,600 Green Berets in its 1st Special Forces Group. The soldiers continually deploy to secret missions in Afghanistan, the Philippines and on training exercises with allies along the Pacific Rim.

Grissom is the 1st Special Forces Group’s first combat casualty in more than a year. Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Wise suffered fatal injuries on Jan. 9, 2012, in northern Afghanistan’s Kunduz province. He died Jan. 15, 2012, at Landstuhl.

Grissom graduated from Mount Eden High School in Hayward and earned an associate degree in computer animation from the Art Institute of San Francisco before joining the Army.

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